SOFLA

Gen X: The Cro-Magnon of Digital Natives

By Tom Kamber

I grew up in Asbury Park, New Jersey, which happens to be the epicenter of American boardwalk life. It’s home to Bruce Springsteen, street racer muscle cars, second-tier mobsters, and saltwater taffy. It is also the place where, during my high school years in the early 1980s, video games got their start. Asteroids came first, a giant boxy console wedged among the pinball machines where one drove a little pinwheeling spaceship through an asteroid field and shot the rocks to bits with tiny blips of laser fire. The spaceship controls were tricky—a little too much throttle would send the player careening into a boulder—and the graphics were primitive, but there was something magical about standing there working a joystick and a few buttons to control a television screen.

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